Earliest Man-Made Mirrors Discovered in Modern-Day Turkey, Estimated 8000 Years Old
Initially, people used pools of water to observe their reflections and viewed it as a magical experience. The first man-made mirrors were created from polished stones like black volcanic glass obsidian, and examples of such mirrors were discovered in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), dating back to approximately 6000 BC.
Prior to the development of glass mirrors, ancient Egyptians crafted metal mirrors using materials such as copper, bronze, silver, and tin. They flattened sheets of metal and polished them until they could be used as mirrors. These mirrors had rounded shapes, ornamentation on the backside, and handles for ease of use.
Glass mirrors were believed to have been invented in Sidon during the first century AD, following the discovery of glass-making. The Romans produced glass mirrors by applying a layer of metal to finish them. Lead-covered glass pieces have also been found in Roman graves dating from the second and third centuries. Although the earliest glass mirrors were only three inches in diameter, they became common in Egypt, Gaul, Germany, and Asia. Despite this, many still preferred mirrors made of metal due to their better reflection quality. It was only after manufacturers developed a technique to spread hot metal onto flat, thin glass without breaking it that glass mirrors gained popularity.
Throughout history, people have used mirrors as household items and decorative objects. Hand mirrors were the earliest type, with full-body mirrors appearing in the first century AD. The Celts adopted hand mirrors from the Romans, and by the end of the Middle Ages, they were widespread throughout Europe. Usually made of silver, polished bronze was also used at times.